Record number of horses transported to China

One of the horses being transported from Shannon to China

PICTURE: Arthur Ellis Photography Record number of horses transported to China
By Zoe Vicarage 1:33PM 8 JAN 2017

THIS week a record 76 thoroughbreds were airlifted from Shannon Airport to China having been purchased by BBA Ireland on behalf of Zhang Yuesheng at sales at Goffs last autumn.

The €3 million airlift is the biggest single movement of Irish horses to China and more than doubled the previous high. It was a culmination of a number of years of work by BBA Ireland which was supported by Irish Thoroughbred Marketing.

It is hoped that the airlift will lead to further investment from Chinese horseracing and breeding interests.

Yuesheng, of YuLong Investments, was introduced to the Irish sales market by ITM and BBA Ireland's sales director Michael Donohoe who is working on the ground in China.

Declan Murray, managing director of BBA Ireland said: "This is really good business for the Irish equine industry, not least for small breeders from whom most of these horses were purchased. Many of these horses might not have met the high standards of the Irish and European market but they are still of a higher standard than the average horse currently running in China.

"So Irish breeders get a good price for horses they might not otherwise have got, the industry here further develops the emerging Chinese market and China gets a higher quality racehorse. Everyone wins with this."

The airlift travelled with a team of professional flying grooms along with a vet, and 30 handlers on the ground were involved in the three hour process of loading the animals at Shannon.

BBA Ireland shipping director Ann Mulley added: "We have been working on this for three months, since the horses were purchased. Many experienced hands have been involved in this and it has been one of our most ambitious projects to date so we are very excited to have completed it.

"It illustrates not alone the opportunity in China for Ireland but also our ability to deliver."

The horses landed late on Thursday night in Beijing and over the weekend have been transported to stables. They will now go into training in China before becoming top local racehorses.

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